Monday 18 December 2017

Music: High Violet - Expanded Edition by The National *****

(4AD)

John Meagher

John Meagher

I normally abhor the practice of releasing expanded/special/limited -- delete as appropriate -- editions of albums just months after they first appeared. The idea is to try to snare those who've already stumped up for the original.

I'll make an exception for this: The National's fifth album. The existing 12 songs are uncommonly good -- my favourite track changes by the week -- and the eight numbers that make up the second disc are well worth investigation.

There are two brand new songs, Wake Up Your Saints and You Were A Kindess -- both excellent -- as well as B-sides Walk Off and Sin-Eaters.

An alternative version of Terrible Love tones down the melodrama of the original and, of the three live tracks included, the brass-inflected England is especially stirring.

As Matt Berninger's passionate singing reaches its crescendo, it will serve as a reminder to those who saw last week's remarkable shows at The Olympia.

Burn it: Wake Up Your Saints; England (live)

Irish Independent

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